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Calphalon Unison vs Circulon Elite (2022): Which Cookware Collection Is The Better Investment?

If you’ve been trying to elevate your home-cooked meals, it might be a smart move to invest in a quality cookware set. This way, you’ll have a much better shot at cooking up professional-grade dishes that will leave your family and friends impressed. Two collections that are worth considering are the Calphalon Unison and the Circulon Elite, both of which are 10-piece kitchen sets. That said, they come with some significant differences so it’s important to pick wisely. To help you out, here’s an in-depth comparison of the two lines, taking their construction, design, non-stick surfaces, and cooking performance into consideration.

Calphalon Unison vs Circulon Elite Comparison Chart

ModelCalphalon UnisonCirculon Elite
 Amazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
ConstructionHeavy-gauge aluminum with hard-anodized exteriorHeavy-gauge aluminum with hard-anodized exterior
Handle and Lid MaterialsHandle – quadruple-riveted stainless steel
Lid – tempered glass
Handle – stainless steel with silicone insert
Lid – tempered glass
Lifetime WarrantyYesYes
Non-Stick SurfaceYes (Slide and Sear)Yes
PFOA-FreeYesYes
Dishwasher-SafeYes but manual hand-washing is recommendedYes but manual hand-washing is recommended
Oven-SafeYesYes
Maximum Temperature500 degrees Fahrenheit400 degrees Fahrenheit
Induction-CompatibleNoNo

Construction and Design

The Calphalon Unison and Circulon Elite lines are made from similar materials and are protected by a lifetime warranty.

Both the Unison and Elite lines have tempered glass lids and stainless steel handles.

While the Unison and Elite lines are from two different brands, they’re actually pretty similar when it comes to construction. You can count on them to be extremely durable, thanks to their heavy-gauge aluminum build with hard-anodized exteriors. Compared to plain old stainless steel, hard-anodized aluminum is 80% stronger so they’re definitely not going to bend or break on you even if you have occasional accidents in the kitchen. Aside from their solid construction, these two collections are also protected by a lifetime warranty so you’re sure to get plenty of use out of them in the years to come.

When it comes to handles and lids, these two lines boast of well-thought-out designs. Their lids are made of high-quality, see-through tempered glass which makes it extra easy to check up on your food. Meanwhile, stainless steel is the material of choice for their handles which is a great pick because of its durability. Unison boasts of extra long, quadruple-riveted handles that stay cool while you’re cooking. As for Elite, not only are their handles riveted as well but are equipped with silicone inserts to allow for better grip.

Non-Stick Surface

The Unison line is more impressive for having two kinds of non-stick surfaces.

The Unison collection has Slide and Sear non-stick surfaces.

While they’re similar in construction, the difference between the Unison and Elite lines become more apparent when it comes to their non-stick surfaces. For Elite pots and pans, you can expect a decent non-stick surface that will be able to release most kinds of food with ease. Unison, however, is the more impressive of the two here for having two kinds of non-stick surfaces.

There’s the Slide non-stick surface which is so smooth that you can cook absolutely anything on it and it will slide right off sans any sticking. Then there’s the Sear non-stick surface which is designed specifically to capture the flavor that escapes during the cooking process and put it back into the food. It’s great for browning meat and fish too. Plus points to Unison for having these two kinds of surfaces because not only is it extremely convenient but it also allows home cooks to perform different cooking tasks and achieve specific outcomes. So if you want to deliver professional-grade dishes, you’ll have better luck with the Unison line.

While non-stick surfaces tend to scare people for possibly having harmful chemicals in them, you can put your worries aside. Both the Unison and Elite collections are PFOA-free and are completely non-toxic. As for cleaning and caring for them, they’re both said to be dishwasher-safe although it might be better to stick to manual hand-washing so that you can preserve their non-stick surfaces. Also, only use plastic or wooden utensils on them (never metal) to prevent any unsightly scratches or chips.

Cooking Performance

Both the Unison and Elite lines deliver impressive cooking performances.

Both the Unison and Elite lines heat up quickly and have even heat distribution.

Thanks to their heavy-gauge aluminum construction, both the Unison and Elite collections are able to deliver impressive cooking performances. You don’t have to stand around and wait for ages before they heat up. Plus they’re able to distribute heat pretty evenly so you won’t have any burnt or raw parts on your food. And of course, you shouldn’t have any problem flipping your steak or fish over because they have non-stick surfaces. But as mentioned, the Unison line is the better pick for those who want more versatility in the kitchen.

As for those who like cooking via the oven, that’s completely possible with these two collections. But even though they’re both oven-safe, do take note of their respective temperature limits. The Unison line can withstand up to a whopping 500 degrees Fahrenheit inside the oven while the Elite line has a significantly lower maximum of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the big difference, these temperatures should be enough to cook a wide range of food. Unfortunately for those who cook with an induction stove, neither of these collections are induction-compatible.

Collection

Both the Unison and Elite collections are 10-piece sets that come with similar pieces.

Both the Unison and Elite collections come with sauté pans, stock pots, saucepans, and skillets.

With the Unison line, you get an eight and ten-inch omelet pan, a two and three-quart saucepan with lids, a four-quart sauté pan with lid, and an eight-quart stock pot with lid. As for the Elite collection, it’s a 10-piece set as well which will give you an eight and ten-inch skillet, an eight-quart stock pot with lid, a ten-quart sauté pan with lid, and a one and two-quart saucepan with lids. Both of these lines are strictly non-stick cookware pieces with no stainless steel options.

Verdict

We recommend the Unison line for its versatility in the kitchen.

Amazon product

If you’ve been wanting to upgrade your cookware and level up your home-cooked meals, both the Calphalon Unison and Circulon Elite collections can help you with that. Both lines are solidly built, are made from high-quality materials, and can deliver impressive cooking performances in the kitchen. That said, we would definitely recommend the Unison collection more for having two kinds of non-stick surfaces and for having a much higher temperature limit, allowing for more flexibility in the kitchen. The only reason you should go for the Elite collection is if you’re sticking to a tighter budget.

FAQs

📌 What are the Calphalon Unison and Circulon Elite collections made of?

Both the Calphalon Unison and Circulon Elite lines have a heavy-gauge aluminum build with hard-anodized exteriors. This material is extremely durable and is known to be 80% stronger than stainless steel.

📌 Are the Calphalon Unison and Circulon Elite lines safe?

Yes, both the Calphalon Unison and Circulon Elite lines are PFOA-free, meaning they don’t contain any toxic chemicals that will transfer to your food.

📌 Can you use the Calphalon Unison and Circulon Elite lines in the oven?

Yes, both the Calphalon Unison and Circulon Elite lines are oven-safe although they have different temperature limits. The Unison line can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit while the Elite line has a significantly lower maximum of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

📌 Which one is better, the Calphalon Unison or the Circulon Elite?

We recommend the Calphalon Unison collection more for having two kinds of non-stick surfaces and for having a much higher temperature limit, allowing for more flexibility in the kitchen.

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.